CHICAGO (CBS) — Armed only with good intentions and connections to the community, CeaseFire workers try to cool boiling tempers, allowing young people time to think.
Just a few miles from downtown Chicago, there are few parks, few activities, few role models, few adult men, CBS 2’s Bill Kurtis reports.
“You know, not being chauvinistic, you know, but sometimes that base in your voice can just change a child’s mind,” one CeaseFire worker says.
It’s not just men who further CeaseFire’s mission.
Ameena Matthews, daughter of imprisoned former El Rukyn gang leader Jeff Fort, waits for a call that means trouble. Fistfights are a thing of the past, and disputes are often settled with guns.
“If you get a capital murder — first-degree — it’s a rap for you. Even at the age of 15, 16 now,” she tells Kurtis during a ride-along.
Tio Hardiman, CeaseFire’s Illinois director, explains the mission this way:
“We work with the shooters. We work with the guys that nobody wants to work with. And we’re trying to make sense out of the madness and stop these guys from harming other people. This is a universal thing with the violence but it happens a lot in the African American communities and the Latino communities but the whole world needs a break on the word death.”
In Los Angeles, Police Chief Charlie Beck has formed a gang intervention academy. It remains to be seen if Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and new Police Supt. Garry McCarthy will encourage more of CeaseFire’s method of intervention or focus more on arrests and jail time.